Planning for the New Year

Monday, December 29, 2014

Welcome, welcome, welcome ya'll!

As you can tell I am so super rested from my recent holiday vacation to Florida to see my family! If you want to see pictures of our fishing trip or my several shopping hauls be sure to follow me on Instagram! (@aubrey.eastway)

Okay, enough with the shameless social media plugs. On to our topic right? First, let me introduce you to my newest obsession, true planner love. Introducing...

Why yes, I am one of those people that name their planners. #noshame. Named "Zesty" after "Lemon Zest" I can't help but smile every time I glance at it! However, I really wanted to tell you why I am so in love with it, besides its vibrant color.

This is a tool. It has helped me in my everyday planning, in keeping track of expenses, in monitoring my water intake, scheduling all my appointments, and it's also a release for my creativity. Not only can I maintain a level of consistent productivity but I can also do it in a crafty way.

Isn't that little bow cute? Well it's a DIY! You can find templates and tutorials all over the place! But I highly recommend the one over at one of my favorite vlogger/blogger, Alexis' blog, Strange and Charmed! She is seriously the You can also click on the picture below to be taken to her super informational video with instructions to DIY the bow yourself! 

DIY Planner Bow Clip

If you don't have a planner for the new year, I highly recommend getting one. It doesn't have to be a Filofax or an expensive one. You can get super cute ones at Target - spiral bound, ring bound, or just bound! You can literally personalize any and every planner on any budget, with a little ingenuity and creativity of course! 

Enough of my planner obsessed rant. I wanted to show it to you so that I could really drill in this one idea.

If you want to reach your goals, you have to plan for them. 

I realize that some of you don't need to have everything on paper in front of you like I do. I also know that there are some pretty sweet apps and online calendars that can prove to be very beneficial to the techy in us all. But you have to plan to reach your goals. You absolutely have too! You need to have ways to check your progress, and the only way you can do that is by planning check points. 

Think about it. This time of year is all about setting new goals and starting fresh. Anyone can chase after a dream for a month, but it takes dedication, planning, and enthusiasm to preserve that drive! Having manageable bite size chunks that progressively lead up to reaching and maintaining your goal is the best and most efficient way to reach them. 

On Thursday, I plan on taking you through my entire planner, discussing my New Year's Resolution, having a printable available for your use and download, and also announcing some really exciting news! 

Keep coming back because I have so many ideas and fun things planned for the New Year!


Savoring the Holiday Spirit

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Welcome back to the Christmas Collaboration between myself and Emily over at Createyou86! As you can see from the post title we're going to be talking about Christmas spirit.

The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud, for all to hear.

We've all heard this quote right? If you haven't, I highly suggest that you flip on your tv, and go check out the movie, "Elf." It's literally one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time. It's so hilarious and I find myself enjoying different parts of the movie each year I watch it. It's a family tradition.

I wanted to talk to you about tradition.
My husband and I got married last year in June, and shortly after that my parents moved to Florida some thousand of miles away from us. Now, for me, Christmas is kind of a big deal. My family has traditions out the wazoo. For my husband, however, Christmas had more of a biblical principle more than anything else....not suprising coming from a pastor's kid. :)

So, our first Christmas together was....confusing and hard. Why? Because our traditions were different. Take this story for example.

Every year since I was baby, my family would have our annual Christmas tree decorating night. We would put on Christmas music, decorate the tree - dad does lights, ladies do ornaments - and then we'd watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Well Ethan and I...didn't. Our tree sat bare for the majority of the holiday season until I frustratingly decided to decorate the tree myself. To my dismay, I couldn't get the lights to look like my dads. I remember him specifically saying "you just push them in, to make your tree look pre-lit." Now just picture a frustrated 20 year old woman frantically pushing in Christmas lights, breaking a sweat, getting scratched, cursing under her breath, and on the verge of tears while an innocent husband looked on.

Then my knight and shining armor came....and I cried some more. The lights were NOT pushed in! They did NOT look like my dad's! And if I'm telling you the truth, our lights on our tree this year still do NOT look like my dad's.

So as I set on the couch balling my eyes out, reminiscing the memory of my own family traditions, my sweet husband sat next to me and tried to comfort me, having no idea why I was crying. "" I managed to sob out in a hot mess.

And do you know what my sweet, wise, Godly, husband said.

"We will learn to make our own traditions."

And we have.

Every Thanksgiving we go see a movie, every Christmas we end up giving each other our presents way early, we watch "Elf", we do things our way, and are still figuring everything else out.

And as we decorated the Christmas tree this December, I found myself thinking back on our last Christmas tree, and discovered something new.

Every year, Ethan has done the lights, and they have been Ethan's lights. Sure, they aren't pushed in, and they are quirky, and soooooo Ethan. But they are his lights. His contribution to Christmas. And I realized that it didn't matter what we did to celebrate Christmas.

We could have a family paintball fight, we could give each other the most horrendous presents, or we could basically do everything we do now. So long as did them, in the Spirit of Christmas, it would matter. It would make Christmas. We would feel Christmas.

Remember, it's not about what you do, how great your tree looks, or if your stockings are hung in a row. It's why you do, and that you do it, in the Spirit of Christmas.

Christmas Card Bonanza!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Welcome back everyone! I hope you are finding your Holidays to be a lot simpler! I am so glad you stopped by today because I have such a treat! Are you ready??

It's a printable Christmas Card just for you! If you and your family are the Christmas card giving type - and you haven't found the perfect card yet, or don't want to pay for a bunch - then by all means give this printable a try! You can find and download it HERE! It's FREE and SUPER cute!

All that's left for you to do is print them out on some nice card stock, cut, and send! I also send my printables as post cards so I can skimp on the envelope cost!

I hope you enjoy this little gift from me to you!

Merry Christmas,

Gift Giving 101!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Welcome back to our "Simplifying the Holidays" series! Today we're going to talk about gift giving. The where and the what! I've been thinking about this post a lot and have been unsure on how to go about it. It's difficult to say that what I would give to someone, you would also, because gift giving is about the giver, not the gift! I talk more about that in "The B Word".

Because I talked about how to gift for the hardest people in your life, I decided to create a list of "stereotypical gifts" for those that you know well, but aren't sure exactly what to get them. Below you'll find a list of stereotypes and a list of gifts per. It was my objective to create a list that includes all price ranges, so I hope you find this helpful!

"The Fitness Fanatic" -

  1. Wireless Headphones - I found mine at TJ Maxx for $40.00
  2. Cliff Bars - Can find at almost any grocery store!
  3. Hair Ties and Headbands! Get these here.
  4. A New Water Bottle - decorate it yourself, or find one at any store!
  5. Pay for a few months of their membership!

"The Coffee Lover" -

  1. A cute new mug! Find this one here. 
  2. A coffee Cozy! Get it here.
  3. DIY a coffee scrub! Many recipes found online!
  4. DIY chocolate covered spoons! Get the look here
  5. ANY coffee lover would LOVE to have a Starbucks Gift Card as well!

"The Beauty Queen"

  1. DIY a cute make-up brush holder!
  2. Nail Polish! (OPI - Dulce de Leche)
  3. EOS Lip Balm - found at almost any department store.
  4. Betsy Johnson Cosmetic Bag - Get it here.
  5. ULTA Gift Card

"The Planner Addict"

  1. Cute Pens! Get these here.
  2. Planner Stickers! Get those here.
  3. An Erin Condren Life Planner. You can get that here.
  4. Cute paper clips. Get the owl here!   

"The Book Lover"

  1. Book Ends - get the owl ones here
  2. Book Marks - get this one here.
  3. Book Initial - get one similar here.
  4. Great Gatsby Necklace. Here.
  5. Barnes and Noble Gift Card

Those are the most common stereotypes I can think of at the moment! But if you think of one and you'd like to know how I'd gift for them, feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best to shop around! I hope these ideas have made your Holiday shopping a little easier! Christmas is only 12 days away can you believe it!?

Don't forget that Emily over at Createyou86 also posted today on gift giving so be sure to check her out! Check back next time for "Christmas Card Bonanza!" Until then, live simply today.


Makin' A List, and Checking It Twice!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Welcome back to 528 Square Feet! Can I just take this moment to tell you how much I love your feedback, shares, and comments? Hash-Tag, BLESSED!

This series has been dedicated to talking about the good ole Holidays! Oh the chaos! Holidays are such a wonderful, yet awful time. The time spent with family is truly amazing, yet the time spent preparing for family....not so amazing.

Therefore, Emily and I have decided to do this 3 week series about simplifying your holidays, and making them a time that you can fully enjoy! Can you believe we only have 15 days until Christmas? YIKES! If you're anything like me you've already created your lists, finalized them, and have just about everyone bought for except.....that person.

You all know what I'm talking about. That person that absolutely NO one - not their mother, spouse, or best friend - knows what to get them. What do you do for them? 

Well I just so happen to be blessed with three of those people in my life. And here's how I tackled all three of them. I made another list...well chart actually! It's nothing fancy, just something that helped me to visualize and see everything at once!

Name:Spark Questions:Answer:Idea:
1. Recent Achievement/Accomplishments?Soon College Grad
Movie Candy Box and tickets to most Recent Lord of the Rings Movie!
2.) Known Interests?Neveron, Video Games, Movies
3.) Obsessions?Game of Thrones, Lord of Rings
4.) Known Needs?none
5.) Inside Jokes?none
1. Recent Achievement/Accomplishments?Pastor, Very Busy!
A Nice Bottle of Wine and Glass
2.) Known Interests?Tennis, Sports, C.S Lewis
3.) Obsessions?Sleep, Bible Study, Car, Wine
4.) Known Needs?None
5.) Inside Jokes?cheesy jokes
1. Recent Achievement/Accomplishments?New Job!
Good Switch Blade, and Tackle Gift Card
2.) Known Interests?Art, Fishing, Photography
3.) Obsessions?Paranormal TV, Fishing
4.) Known Needs?Job Tools, Art Inspiration
5.) Inside Jokes?Too many! 

As you can see this chart has really helped me think of gifts that are customized for each person! If you want to create your own chart here are the "Spark" questions I have!

  • Recent Achievement and or Accomplishment?
  • What are their known interests?
  • What are their known obsessions?
  • Have they expressed anything they need around you?
  • Do you have any inside jokes with them?
I'm sure you can come up with many, many, many more, but just remember: the purpose of this chart is to simplify your gift giving (not make a huge large FBI analysis of each person that takes you at least 5 hours to create!) If you'd like to use the chart that I made, you can download or use it HERE. I hope this list making tool proves to be beneficial to you! I've also scoured the internet for cute list making printables! I thought I'd do the work for you guys! <3 Each photo is a clickable link to the associated site! Happy Listing!

Christmas Shopping ListUse this printable Wish List to keep track of items throughout the year. It's an easy-to-reference tool that will help you remember what you need {or want!}printable christmas gift list          Making A List: Christmas Gift Record Printable - A Pair of Pears
DFP Free Christmas Gift List Planner

Okay, those are some of my favorites! I also happen to know that Miss Emily has a Christmas List printable on its way too so keeping checking in on her blog for it! It's super cute and very Christmas-y! 

Next week we'll be talking about "Great Gift Giving" and my ideas for different people in your life!

Make those holidays simple,

The "B" Word

Sunday, December 7, 2014


I'm the first one to admit that when it comes to gifts, I am absolutely horrible at maintaining my budget.I have that dreaded, "GREAT GIFT GIVING" mindset! I love this holiday, because it gives me the opportunity to give gifts that show my thoughtfulness and attentiveness to people. I seriously love giving.

My latest shopping extravaganza was just this weekend. My husband and I went to Target on the hunt for gifts for everyone on our list! This included:

  1. My Mom
  2. My Dad
  3. My Sister
  4. His Mom
  5. His Dad
  6. His Sister
  7. His Brother
  8. Friend #1
  9. Myself
  10. My Husband

We had approximately ten gifts to purchase. Now, I rarely ever go shopping without a monetary budget budget in mind. My goal was $200. I was hoping that would be enough to purchase a few small gifts for every one on that list! (Around $20 per person). We ended up spending around $115 at Target with a few really great gifts. 

Our next stop was Bath and Body Works for the beautiful 5 women in my life. There we spent $42 on a killer deal of by 3 get two free. So afterwards I had about:

  1. My Mom
  2. My Dad
  3. My Sister
  4. His Mom
  5. His Dad
  6. His Sister
  7. His Brother
  8. Friend #1
  9. Myself
  10. My Husband

So we were roughly at the end of our budget and still had HALF the people on our list to purchase for. I was shattered! Did I really need $400 to give to the people I loved? And of course, they were all the men, which of whom are always the hardest for me to buy for. I left discouraged. SUPER discouraged. And in my discouragement, I was hit with a very tough realization. A newsflash! Are you ready to hear about the plank in my eye?


I am a hypocrite. You heard me. The biggest of all! I am a huge advocate for simple living, with  being content with less. But when it comes time for an opportunity to truly live that out, I crumble underneath the the idea of quantity. 

See I hate the thought of someone opening a gift from me and thinking, "that's it?" I have a giving nature. I love giving! I am a giver through and through - and I don't think that's a bad thing. But I've learned that I HAVE to be careful with what I give myself too.

Christmas is not about giving and receiving the most extravagant gifts, or being called the best giver. For so long my identity has rested in that label every holiday season. For me, Christmas is about the ultimate gift ever given, that of Jesus, one I cannot top. 


I've come to realize that Christmas is not about what you give, but how you give. Can you give freely, or do you wind up giving with a bitter heart because what you bought stretched your budget so thin you're living on Ramen Noodles? What are your intentions behind the gift? Is it to be the best gifter? To have the best wrapping paper? To be the most creative?

I am guilty of almost every single one of those thoughts. 

I give to be the best. 

And my consequence for this is a small budget, and a loss of true meaning. As I attempt to stretch my budget to fit those last people in, I can't help but reflect on some of the best gifts I've ever been given.

  • A glass casserole dish and a handmade booklet of my mother's recipes my first year of college.
  • A day of painting with my husband because we couldn't afford to go to an actual gallery in Chicago.
They were simple. But they were beautiful. And they were CHEAP.

If' I'm honest, my favorite gifts of all time are memories and momma's cooking. I couldn't even tell you the number of presents I received in any given Christmas. Why? Because it didn't matter.

What mattered was the connection I made with the people that gave. 

So, when you're looking through your budget this season, frantically trying to figure out how you'll get it all to work. I invite you to shake that anxiety right off your shoulders and realize the truth of Christmas. Don't allow yourself to get worked up the "Go big or go home" mindset that this holiday usually promotes. Rather, take a breath, think about the people you love, and do something that shows them just that.


Merry Christmas,

Simplify the Holidays - KICK-OFF!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy Monday everyone! It seems like forever since I've made a post and for that I'm sorry! Moving into our home was and still is a blast! Planning where everything goes, decorating, and organizing are so much fun when it's your home to keep!

So where I have been? Well first and foremost I moved last week! But then Thanksgiving came up on us in a hurry! And since Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful and thankful, I really decided to put this principle into practice. Therefore, I took this opportunity to truly invest in my relationships with friends and family. My Thanksgiving transformed into a holiday where I truly connected with my family and friends and for that I am even more thankfull!


Now that I've gotten all my excuses out of the way, let me tell you about a new FRIEND I made! Her name is Emily, and she's the writer over at Createyou86! She's seriously so awesome and has her own planner shop! I wrote a review for her fauxdori HERE. Anyways, we have decided to collaborate on this wonderful holiday season! For the next month our blogs will be dedicated to simplifying the holidays! We'll be creating tools, showing you tips and tricks, and hopefully helping you make the Christmas season a little more simple. Therefore, keep checking in our blogs to see what we've come up with because we have so much fun in the making!


Pause. Halt. Stop. Freeze. 

The Christmas Season is notorious for chaos. I mean if I can look back on all 21 Christmases I've experienced this far, I'm pretty sure that the word chaos would fit most of those. I mean if we're completely honest, the season basically begins on the most chaotic day of the year.


I try not to go out on this day because people have literally been trampled in their attempt to purchase a new coffee maker. However, I did somehow manage to need toilet paper and a few command strips for the house and found myself endlessly wandering around Wal-Mart on this crazy day! Now I know that a lot of my readers do go out on Black Friday, to which I reply, "more power to you!" But as I shuffled and dodged my way down the hardware department, I couldn't help but think I needed shoulder pads and football helmet to survive! So, if we can survive Black Friday, we still have to manage all of our schedules at the same time!

If your Christmas is anything like mine it goes a little like this:

We need to be at Aunt Marthas house at 10, Grandma Doris' house at noon, and our own Christmas at 7:00. Oh and don't even get me started on all of the ugly sweater, Christmas Pageant, buffet dinner, parties you go to the whole month of December!

All on top of the juggling who gets what, where you can get it, and how much it costs! Yeah, I think we've established its pretty chaotic.

It's so chaotic, we miss the point. 

So in my efforts to try and take a little of that chaos out of my life, I created this gift printable, which you can download for free - HERE. It's simple, concise, and cute. It's also in letter formatting, so that you can resize to any Filofax, Fauxdori, or any other planner you may already have! I love this printable because it allows me to get back to what I believe Christmas to be all about. (More on that later!)

For now, I invite you to sit back, relax, plan your gifts, get them written down on paper, and breath. Chaos can steal the joy of Christmas. Simplify your life, and experience this beautiful holiday in an entirely different way!

Keep checking in on our blogs for more freebies, DIYS, and tips and tricks! Oh and be sure to tell me all about your crazy Black Friday shopping in the comments!

Aubrey & Emily

Tomorrow's the Day

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Just wanted to leave a brief reminder that tomorrow my husband and I move into our new home! The blog will be slow today and Monday as we try to get settled in!

However, I did want to make you guys aware of an awesome giveaway done by my friend Createyou86! Here's what she has to say about it:

the giftcard includes enough money to be able to create you own Maybook, and shipping within the United States.  When I made my Maybook I had about $6.00 leftover, and you can always add money to your account if needed.    All you need to do is enter below.  Thank you for taking some time out of your day to enter our giveaway.  GOOD LUCK!  This Giveaway is in correlation with Createyou86's First Annual Fan Appreciation Week.  Be sure to check out our 40% OFF Sale on Instagram.  All size Fauxdoris are 40% OFF for the month of November! Have a Planned Day!

Click on the picture to be taken to her blog and learn more about her products! (I will be doing a review and collab with her soon that I'm REALLY excited for!) Please give her the love and support you give me!

On another note, I started reupholstering our headboard! You can see a sneak peak if you follow me on Instagram!


The road to simple living is getting closer and closer!


Monday, November 17, 2014



I'm sorry, I just couldn't keep it in! I'm so excited! This week has been super busy so I'm really sorry I didn't get Thursday's blog post up. My head is spinning with crafts and tasks to get to done so that we can move in!

But first I want to let you in on another big thing that is going on in my life. For those of you who don't know I graduated from a small Christian college with a degree in Youth Ministry. I'll be honest with you, I really thought I'd find plenty of jobs pertaining to that degree. However, as most of you probably can guess, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. So, in my desperation I decided to get a part time position in our local school system as a teacher's aid. I fell in love with it. I absolutely, positively, LOVE my job. I feel so blessed that at 21 I can say that!

BECAUSE I love my job so stinking much, I have decided to go back to school to pursue a teaching career. It'll be an 8 month program that builds off of my previous degree and sets me up to get my teaching license. Well, in order to get into this program I had to take a few tests, other wise known as the CASA for Educators Test. I was so stinking nervous for this thing, I can't even begin to tell you! I was mainly concerned about the math portion - I realize that I'm still young and that many people go back to school way later in life - however, I haven't had math since I was a Freshman in High School. I tested out of the rest of my math classes because I took Honors Math throughout my Middle School years. Luckily, my job allows me to tutor and work with students who have math homework so I had a lot of refresher time.

I took this test on Saturday (yet another reason my post on Thursday just didn't happen!). And after 3.5 grueling hours, I finished it. And there on the screen read these words:

Unofficial Test Scores:

Reading: PASS
Math: PASS
Writing: TBA

I was super excited about my passing scores, but also really anxious about that TBA. So I asked the instructor what it meant. "Since you had to write an essay, someone has to personally grade that so the computer can't give you an unofficial score." PRAISE THE LORT, HALLELUJER! (for those of you who haven't seen Madea I invite you to go watch this video).

The anxiety of taking that test has finally lifted and I couldn't be more excited to continue this path towards a career in Elementary Education.


I realize that most of my readers come here to learn about my journey into our small home and towards simple living! Therefore, I want to tell you all what I've been up to lately with that in mind!

First of all, we heard the news of our closing date on Friday, and you wouldn't believe the happy dance we did! Then, almost instantaneously, my planning senses began to tingle. We aren't even CLOSE to ready. I mean, don't get me wrong, we've been purging a lot, and doing our very best to downsize, but with our closing date nearing quickly, it's like a match was lit underneath of us! So with the help of Createyou86   and their Fauxdori, I began creating a house project planner! Now, I am planning on writing an entire blog post with a complete run down of everything in it. But I thought I'd just give you a little taste of what's in there by showing you what's currently on our to-do list!

  • Get Boxes
  • Change Mailing Address
  • Select & Buy Paint for Bedroom and Laundry Room
  • Purchase Washer and Dryer
  • Find New Bed Frame
  • Donate China
  • Find New Bedding
  • Work on DIY Gallery Wall
  • Purge Kitchen
  • Purge Books
  • Make Wreath
  • Purge Bathroom
  • Laundry - Wash All Clothes Before Move
  • Donate/Toss Furniture
  • Figure Out Room Layouts
  • Pack Essential Box
  • Go Through Clothes - Purge/Donate

And there you have it, our running to do list with some things actually completed! We actually just purchased our paint this weekend at Lowes! Oh, you want to see the color we chose?

Pair this with our new gray duvet that we got from Target, and it looks so crisp. See below!

We also got some gray fabric so that I can reupholster our tufted headboard! (Would you like a post on this? Comment and let me know!) I also managed to complete my very first Christmas wreath! Yes, yes, yes, I know what you're going to say. "It's not even Thanksgiving!" to which I will reply, "When we get settled in, Thanksgiving will have passed and I couldn't resist all of the super cute, CHEAP, wreath supplies at Walmart!" This thing cost me around $15 to make! What do you think?

Lastly, we did go looking for a washer and dryer - But I just can't make the plunge.

As weird as it sounds, I want each room to be cohesive. And I can't really imagine having bright red appliances in a mint laundry room. So I'm stuck between the the gray or white, and am leaning more towards the gray! Let me know which one you'd choose in the comments! We like the front loading ones because they have the option to be stack-able if need be!

As you can see we are slowly getting things checked off of our list and are finally able to move into our home! I'm so excited and simply cannot wait! I'd love to hear any of your input in the comments! Be sure to leave feedback on whether or not you'd like a post about reupholstering the headboard and which washer/dryer set you'd chose to go with our wall color!

Living simpler every day,

The Ripple Effect

Monday, November 10, 2014

Have you ever heard of the term, "No one can serve two masters"? Recently, I've been noticing that despite my efforts, I still serve money. I am a slave to chasing after money. Yes, you heard me, I, Mrs. Toss It, am still too obsessed with money.

Every single one of my actions is generally connected to money.

Well, I mean most decisions are based on monetary loss or gain. To go out or not too? What is there to do tonight? Can we really afford a new lamp? Can I recreate that for cheaper? What's the cheapest can of corn? Even in my frugality, I still serve money.

I was hit with this cold hard reality when I was invited to play Bingo with a few of my good friends. The first question to come out of my mouth was, "How much is it?" When faced with the reply "$30", I instantly dismissed the possibility of my going. Number one, because I could play Bingo for free at home, and number two $30 seemed kind of expensive! So I missed out on relationships because of my unwillingness to cough up the cash.

My final slap in the face was when I attempted to get rid of my desk and wall organizer. I put them on a local buy and sell facebook page hoping to just get rid of them! I don't know if it was because I was extremely attached to them, or I'm a slave to money, but I ended up listing them pretty expensively. I also got pretty upset when no buyer came. Well, when I lowered the price to something much more reasonable, I got a lady interested in my desk - we agreed on the price of $75.

When the weekend came for her to come and pick it up, I received this message, "Hi Aubrey, I'm sorry to tell you this but my husband's check wasn't as great as we were expecting so I'm going to have to pass on the desk. If you have another buyer interested you can pass it on, if not we are still very interested and are hoping to be able to purchase next pay period."

What was I to do?

As a young Christian woman, I got that feeling. Some may call it their gut, or their subconscious, but I call it God.

"This isn't yours to sell."

Now, I know that some of my readers may find this difficult to understand. But I really want to share this story with you, and I will do my best to explain it in a non-preachy way. However, recently I've been faced with the idea that when I die, I can't take anything with me. And even more-so, I consider all my of possessions to be gifts from God, rather than things of my own possession. Therefore, none of "my" things are truly mine, but God's.

So you could imagine my anxiety when that gut wrenching voice spoke to me.

"This isn't yours to sell."

Am I a giver or am I a keeper? Am I able to give without debating the ripple effect it will have on my future? Can I give without determining the sacrifice I will have to make as result? Or do I keep to myself? Do I hoard my gifts, my resources, my materials, my things, my money from the world?

Simple living, (to me) is about having more time for people, rather than more room and money for stuff. Simple living, (to me) is about humanity. It's about having a more abundant life, with richer relationships, wealthier hobbies, prosperous ministries, and upscale dreams. It's giving, rather than keeping all that rich, abundant, wealth to myself. It's sharing life with people. 

So I replied - "I totally understand and appreciate your honestly. So I hope you'll be okay with mine: This desk means so much to me. It was the first project my husband and I have ever took on and it has been a huge blessing to me. Therefore, I hope it can be a blessing to you. Please let me know when you are available to stop by and pick it up for free. I want you to have it because I know it will go to a good home. If I can get rid of it in a positive way, and know that someone will love it as much as I do, then that is all I can truly ask for."

I want to be a giver. 

And would you imagine the ripple effect it had?

pay it forward quotes | pay it forward today

The next day, after receiving my message, this lady created a post with this image and text saying

"This quote is very true as a new friend is beyond kind with her giving today! I had been looking on Pinterest on 24 days of random act of kindness to do with the kids in December. But now because of a random act of kindness from Aubrey, we will begin tomorrow and carry it on until Christmas!!! By then it should become a daily habit to continue everyday!!! My birthday wish for this weekend is for my Facebook friends to also begin doing a random act of kindness everyday!!!! Thank you"

I think this would be a great time to mention that the day the lady came to pick up the desk was her birthday! However, if that wasn't enough of a reaction for you, she replied to my message saying,

"Oh my goodness that is so amazing of you!!! If you are sure you want to let it go for free we could pick it up anytime Sunday  if that would work for you. What an amazing blessing you are giving to us, THANK YOU!! If you decide you would rather try to get money out of it I would completely understand!"
Needless to say, when she arrived, I felt like I had known her all my life. She ended up leaving with not only my desk but my wall organizer too. Not an ounce of anxiety or regret slipped into my stomach as they drove away. And I realized that I was blessed, and because I was blessed, I could also bless others. The painstaking reality of it all is that giving feels better than keeping something to yourself. Blessing others, helping them, making them feel good, lifting them up, are the most beautiful qualities of our humanity. If we cling to our possessions, to our wealth, to whatever gifts we have been given, we lose the ability to serve our fellow people.

And in that realization comes an even greater one - the ripple effect of our sacrifices are only negative when we look within ourselves. They become far greater when we notice the rise and fall of the ever growing rings in the lives of others.

Lets turn away from our lives and share it with others.

Live simply today.

With love,


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hello everyone! I'm so happy to see you back and reading my blog! Can I just take this moment to tell you that I am so appreciative of you coming back to check in on me from time to time? I am so blessed.


My husband and I are getting really close to being able to close on our new home. If you haven't seen the tour of it you can view that here. The closer we are to being able to move in, the more I am turning to pinterest for some inspiration in home decor. So, I thought I'd dedicate this post to show you my personal style, and for you to get to know me more. All links to where I found these images will be underneath each individual photo! I'd love to hear your opinions/suggestions.

The first rooms I really want to tackle are our living room and bedroom. Here's my inspiration for the living room:
Love this rug so much!
I like the Navy and the Buttery Yellow together :)
I'm not planning on painting the kitchen nor the living room. I think the color works really well for those areas and keeps our small space open and light. So, I decided to play off of our beautiful lake view and add elements and coloring from it into our home. The colors I want to use are navy and yellow! I thought our trunk would act as the perfect color pop in our living room. Remember, we're planning on getting some Plexiglass to turn it into a coffee table. I'm currently begging my father, who is a watercolorist, to make me some awesome stormy lake scenes to pull in the deep sage of our home and the navy blues and grays I'm planning to use as accent colors. My plan is to use that, a few pieces of my own art, and pictures from the wedding as a gallery wall. (Keep coming back, because I am planning on having an entire post about the the final product!) My husband has been slowly letting me purchase things for our home. In addition to a few supplies for our gallery wall that I've been working on, I've also bought a few rugs to go into the bathroom. Here's a look at them:

This rug is very similar to the rug I purchased from Kohls, but mine was WAY cheaper - they didn't have an image of mine on their website. This one was the closest I could get. So there's a little look at my inspiration for our Kitchen, Bathroom, and Living Room. Next, here are the ideas I pulled for our bedroom.

Good balance... maybe for a bedroom

for my bedroom next year, it's painted mint green. good colors to go with it, (pink or blush, warm whites or cream, taupe, french gray, metallic gold, dark brown, black.) (AVOID: true white, blue, purple, green, metallic silver)
mini chandeliers and chairs as nightstands

I am obsessed with the idea of having mini chandeliers as our bedside lamps. I'm hoping that having them hanging will free up more visual space for night stands and our posessions - like our devotions, Bibles, books, and water! So that's a little bit of my vision for our home. Here are the two things I've decided on so far. 

Our bedroom wall color -

And lastly, our bedspread!

Threshold™ Chevron Herringbone Duvet Set

That's as far as I've gotten so far! Check back on Monday to see what else I've come up with! Thanks for stopping by! 

Purging: Home Office V.2

Monday, November 3, 2014

Welcome back everyone! I'm so thankful you are taking the time to follow me on my journey to a simpler, less cluttered, and minimal life. This post is all about me purging my office space - and for those of you who know me, my planner and organizational obsessions, this is kind of a big deal. I'm going to be honest with you - IT HURTS.

Throwing away things that you've made, worked hard to accomplish, or even like, is hard. I feel like so many blogs that talk about decluttering/purging make tossing our belongings out to be a breeze. I'm here to tell you it sucks. We aren't wired to have the bare minimum are we? We aren't wired to want just what we need. No, we're told from a very early age to get as much as you can and to fight for it. Therefore, purging and getting rid of your things is no trip to the cupcake store. It's hard. It may make you want to cry. Case in point - my much loved wall organizer.


All on my own - no help from the hubby, no YouTube advice. No this was the very first project I dreamed up on my own and created. Let me tell you more about it. This command center is made from old fencing I found in my back yard. It has a lace ribbon memo catcher, a lace covered bulletin board, a mint file holder, a dry erase board made from mint paint chips, a burlap and lace mail catcher, a chevron stamp holder, and two mason jar pen and utensil holders. It's everything I love - lace, burlap, mint, and mason jars all rolled into an organizing system that I actually used! Well, due to limited wall space, and just not enough room, it gets cut. 

I've been thinking about this day for a very long time. I knew it would come eventually, so I've been hunting for ways to keep all my home files organized without much space. I didn't find anything that would work for us. Nothing that didn't take an entire wall or room of its own, which was the whole reason we decided to get rid of that beauty above. So I put it off, and put it off, and put it off until one day an idea surfaced. I wasn't sure if it would work, but I thought I could give it a try. 

I bought this trunk a few months before my husband and I got married for $35. I used it as my dream box where I'd store all of the things I wanted in our future house. Well, wouldn't you have it that most of the things I kept in there were more wedding centered than future centered. Needless to say, this trunk has been kept at the foot of our bed and has been used to store all of our extra blankets! Well, after some blanket purging, we created room in this little trunk, and my idea surfaced:

"What if I put our filing system in this trunk? We could hide it, I'd still have room for a few blankets, and we could even put some plexiglass on top and use as our coffee table."

But could we do it? Well we set out too. The first thing we did was go out and by one of those hanging file systems that you install in drawers. We found ours at Office Max - a two pack - for $13.00. We were going to get our hanging files there, but they seemed a bit expensive to me. Luckily, Target is right next door and we got a pack of 25, in a chic army green color, for less than $5.

Now that we had the supplies it was time for me to create our filing system. 

Having gone through the experience of purchasing our first home, I am proud of all the things I did have organized, but learned a few areas that I could improve on. Our old filing system was small, see that small file box above? I wanted something that was a little more extensive and better organized. So I started of re-organizing all my files and papers. Here are the categories and sub categories I came up with -

  • Finances
    • Paystubs
    • Banking Account/Information
  • Automobile
    • Insurance
    • Maintenance
    • BMV
  • Taxes
    • 2012
    • 2013
    • 2014
  • Oliver (our furbaby)
  • Debt
    • Hubby's student loans
    • My student loans
    • car loans
    • house loans
  • House
    • Maintenance
    • Home Insurance
    • Purchase Information
  • Medical
    • Hubby
    • Mine
    • Insurance
  • Vitals 
    • Marriage license
    • Passports
    • etc.
  • Office Supplies
    • Envelopes
    • Printer paper

YIKES - I know, pretty extensive, but now I can easily find what I need. Okay, so I had all my categories ready for each file. Next, I took my washi tape and prettied up my folders. I used silver sparkly washi for my head categories, and gray chevron tape on my subcategories. Here's how they turned out:

Pretty cute! It also helped to tie all my mismatching folders together - I had collected so many different one's from the amazing Target Dollar Spot over the years that they made my filing system seem a little less organized. Alright, so I had my frame set up in the middle of the living room and all my files hanging on it. How do I get it in the trunk?

At first I thought I could just set it in there. That could work for some people, but I'm a little bit picky. See, my trunk is kind of deep. Therefore, having my filing system resting on the bottom would mean that I would have to lean over and into the trunk every time I need to file away or remove something. No, it needed to sit up higher. I tried everything! I tried stacking things underneath it, but then the files wouldn't hang properly. So, I put my thinking cap on and recruited the hubby.

We decided to put screws into the trunk so that the frame could hang, or rest on the screws. We ended up putting four screws into the trunk, two on each side. 

Here, you can kind of see one of the screws into the trunk as my wonderful hubby is drilling in the other. Lastly, the hubby hit the screws so that they would angle upwards to create an easier and more secure surface for the the frame to rest. (See below)

I hope you can see how the screw has a slight angle upwards. Lastly, we just sat the frame onto the screw to check for stability! It looked great and is surprisingly very secure! I've included a few pictures of the final project below!

Having a better organized system, more cohesive files, and our important documents tucked away has helped me to feel a little bit better about getting rid of my command center. It's not easy, but I know this will work out really well for us. Below, I've stacked some more office supplies, and I still have room on the left side for our extra blankets. Our final step will be putting the plexiglass on top! 

Selecting pieces that have both storage and functionality are really going to be key in our downsizing. Secondly, keeping in mind the functionality of your home will be really helpful. Get creative with the spaces you need, and honest about how much space needs to be dedicated to that need. I'm really happy that I get to use my dream box in our new home. Sad to see my command center go, but happy of everything I get in return.

Happy organizing!